Saturday, May 19, 2018

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' Still

Don't forget!       .....Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’.....

The Lawrence County Historical Society has launched a campaign to restore one of their treasures. They need to raise $600 by June 1, 2018. Steps are now being taken to professionally restore one of their vintage wheelchairs  so it can be placed on exhibit for the State Bicentennial. The caning is being replaced, the wood cleaned, and all the metal wire brushed before sealing it. Please help keep this treasured artifact rollin’ by donating to the restoration now. Send checks to Lawrence County Historical Society at PO Box 425 Lawrenceville, IL 62439 or use paypal on our site:

A big thank you to the donors who have responded-- two wheels and the back are now paid for...lets get the seat and the leg rests restored.  Send those donations now, please.  

Time Travel

Time Travel --No DeLorean Required

I read a post the other day about time travel. Like the author, some of my children grew up in the 80’s. And like him, one of their favorite movies was Back to the Future where Doc Brown turns a car into a time machine that sends Marty McFly into the past. 

I too watched that movie and thought, How cool would it be if time travel were real?  We could go back in time and greet Abe Lincoln as he crossed the Wabash into Lawrence County, or watch as the first train as it chugged into Bridgeport.  We could gaze in wonder at the Courthouse under construction, marvel at a flock of passenger pigeons flying overhead, or witness the members of the Mississippian culture turn the Allison prairie into the first fields of corn.

Sadly- spoiler alert! Time travel is still not possible. But there is another way to experience the past and that is to delve into history at the History Center or the Research Library. Several businesses in the county feature photographs of local vintage scenes. Now the Hospital, Family Clinic and Public Library are going to get in on the act. 

In the future the walls of the hospital and the family clinic will display, on a revolving basis, a photo gallery of pictures from our archival vaults. The library will co-partner with us to exhibit artifacts among their books in the front entry way. 

We can’t go back in time, but working in tandem with partner organizations such as these, we can help you  catch glimpses of what the county may have been like.  So rev up the DeLorean for a trip back into Lawrence County history.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Baby Christened at George Field

Lawrence County News

The first christening ever to take place in the Post Chapel at George Field was performed Sunday morning at the 11 o’clock service when Melvin Leonard McClura, seven months old son of Pvt. and Mrs. F.L. McClura, was baptized. Chaplin David N. Hutto performed the ceremony.
The baby, who was born last Christmas, is the second son of Pvt. and Mrs. F.L. McClura. Their first baby, Philip Michael, is three years old. Although he was also born in December he missed having Christmas as his birthday by one day.

In our textile collection we have we have several items of children's clothing. Here are two of the Christening dresses that have been donated to us.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Indian Refining Becomes Texas Company 1943

Lawrence County News
March 18, 1943
Plant became Property of the Texas Company
by Transfer of Assets at Special Stockholders Meeting Monday

Approximately 1000 employees of the Indian Refining Company, some 640 of whom are employed locally at the Lawrenceville refinery became employees of the Texas Company Monday. This announcement was made by F. H. Holmes, Superintendent of the refinery, following formal ratification of the Indian’s assets to the Texas Company at a special stockholders meeting in Augusta, Maine.

Ratification by Indian stockholders followed approval by the New York State Supreme Court of the offer to take over all of Indian’s assets on the basis of one share of Texas Company stock for each four shares of Indian common stock outstanding. Texaco already owned 91.6 percent of Indian’s common stock. Preferred shareholders of Indian will receive, upon liquidation, $100 per share plus accrued dividends.

In a letter to all refining department employees of Indian, Mr. Halpern, Vice President of the Texas Company in charge of refining, assured them that their service records with the Indian Company will be included in determining their status under the various benefit plans of the Texas Company. These benefits include group life insurance and pension benefits, accident and sick benefits, vacation with pay and permanent and total disability payments.

The local plant will henceforth be known as the Texas Company’s Lawrenceville Works. Operations will continue on the same basis as previously. A substantial percentage of the refinery’s output is directly related to the war effort.

There will probably be a shifting around of some employees at the local plant, particularly in the accounting office, but no official announcement of such changes has been made at this time. Rumors are that some twelve or fifteen families will be transferred from Lawrenceville to New York or Huston, but there is no official confirmation of the rumors.

Board showing War Bond and Stamp purchases
by percent of payroll by departments at the Lawrenceville Works. 1944 or 1945

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

WPA Sewing Project 1937

Lawrence County News
September 2, 1937
Sewing Project in Lawrenceville Closes Thursday
Acting under orders from the District headquarters, Mrs. A. A. Wiltse closed the WPA sewing project today. This action was forecast a year ago when the county refused to furnish the necessary supplies.

The Illinois Emergency Relief Commission stepped into the breach and provided supplies to keep the project in operation. Two months ago, the Commission notified the supervisors that they would be unable to furnish materials after September 1st and that the room would be closed unless the county came to the assistance of the Commission. At the August meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the matter was discussed but no action was taken.

The project was started in Lawrenceville in November 1935, and furnished employment at good wages to a number of women. The largest number employed at one time was forty; they were paid 31 cents an hour for 130 hours per month. During the last month the number employed was sixteen.

Many of the women knew absolutely nothing about needle work when they were assigned to the project, and the improvement in their work was nothing short of marvelous. The improvement in their dress and manner of living had also improved. For the first time, many of the women were earning money and they used it for bettering their life. The money was not wasted as was the case with many men engaged in WPA work, but was used for family purposes.

The finished articles were turned over to the Illinois Emergency Relief Commission for distribution among the needy.  Most of the articles were distributed in Lawrence County. The sewing project was one of the best in the country, and it is to the dismay of many that it is being discontinued.
From the History Center's Collection of Sewing Machines
This is a Singer model 348, Robin's Egg blue, circa 1960s

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

American Trade Cards

Phelps, Dodge & Palmer Co of Chicago
19th Century American Trade Cards
Ca. 1870-1900
New consumer markets after the Civil War required an effective national advertising medium.  The lithographed trade card was born. Given away to shoppers by merchants, or slipped into packages at the factory, these small paper cards provide a glimpse of 19th century culture and buying habits. Often trade cards introduced the public to the idea of using factory-made products, such as shoes which might have been made at home or by shoemakers in the community, rather than store-bought.

This one for school shoes advertised the Phelps, Dodge & Palmer Co. of Chicago. The  shoe business started in 1864 in Boston, but soon moved to Chicago where a factory was started. By the 1880s the factory produced 2000 pairs of shoes a day, and became one of the leading shoe companies in the Midwest.
 (The above entry concerning Phelps, Dodge and Palmer is part of the Encyclopedia's Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses (1820-2000) that was prepared by Mark R. Wilson, with additional contributions from Stephen R. Porter and Janice L. Reiff.)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Lawrenceville Laundry Circa 1920's

WE are looking for some researchers to help us with our Lawrence County Businesses.  If you are interested, please stop by the History Center on Mondays or Saturday 10-3. This would consist of looking at old phone books and city directories to find locations for our local businesses and try to ascertain what years they were doing business. AND if you have advertising articles ( pencils, thermometers, calendars, key rings, etc) from local businesses and wanted to donate them to our archives, we would be happy to talk to you. 

The above photo is of the Lawrenceville Laundry Co truck that picked up and delivered laundry to Lawrenceville residents.  The bottom photo is of the driver, Ralph Reel circa 1926-28.
July 7, 1926

January 3, 1935

September 24, 1936